Imaging techniques

Techniques that produce images of structures within the body. The most commonly used and simplest techniques are X-rays (to view dense structures such as bone) and contrast X-rays, in which a medium, such as barium, that is opaque to X-rays is introduced into the body. Contrast X-ray techniques include barium X-ray examinations (used to examine the oesophagus, the stomach and the small intestine); cholecystography (used to visualize the gallbladder and common bile duct); bronchography (to view the airways connecting the windpipe to the lungs); angiography and venography (to provide images of the blood vessels); intravenous urography (to visualize the kidneys and urinary tract); and ERCP (by which the pancreatic duct and biliary system are examined). Many X-ray imaging techniques have been superseded by newer procedures. These include ultrasound scanning, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), PET scanning, and radionuclide scanning. However, X-rays are used in CT scanning. Some of these techniques use computers to process the raw imaging data and produce the actual image. Others can produce images without a computer, although one may be used to enhance the image.


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